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Tanaka Precious Metals: Gold Bonding Wires and Other Precious Metal Industrial Products

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Tanaka Precious Metals is a manufacturer and worldwide supplier of precious metal materials and products. 90% of its business is in the manufacture and sales of precious metal industrial parts. Some of the products that the company has created have allowed the company to claim the largest global market share in their respective areas. This article introduces a selection of the company’s precious metal industrial products.


The Lifeline of Semiconductor Devices – Gold Bonding Wires


Bonding wire is used to connect the electrodes on an integrated circuit to the printed wiring on the substrate, allowing the flow of electric current between them. Bonding wire with a purity of over 99.99% is referred to as gold bonding wire; Tanaka Precious Metals is the world’s largest producer of this gold bonding wire.

The thinner the gold bonding wire, the lower the cost for the customer. With this in mind, Tanaka Denshi Kogyo (part of the Tanaka Precious Metals group) has been developing the technology to make the thinnest possible gold bonding wires. Initially, gold bonding wire with a diameter of 25 µm was standard, but it is not possible to mass produce wire with a diameter of just 15 µm. The company has long been accumulating the know-how required to produce bonding wire that is thin yet strong, for example an understanding and manipulating the effects of different dopants. The demand for thin gold bonding wire has been increasing in recent years as the miniaturization of household electronics continues; the technology to produce thin, defect-free gold bonding wire is sure to guarantee that Tanaka Precious Metals products continue to be the highest quality available.

The continuously increasing price of gold has led Tanaka Denshi Kogyo to begin the development and manufacturing of copper and silver bonding wire. Silver bonding wire is particularly attractive because only nitrogen gas is required for the bonding process, as is the case with gold bonding wire. This means that the switch between gold and silver bonding wire is easy and requires no new equipment; the demand for silver bonding wires is therefore expected to rise in the future. Tanaka Precious Metals strives to continue to expand the frontiers of precious metal technology by strengthening research on alternative materials.


Contact Materials


Tanaka Precious Metals holds 40% of the global market share in electrical contact materials for switches and relays for medium to high electric current. The company’s global market share has reached over 50% for sliding contact materials for small motors. These contact materials are incorporated into many products, such as automobiles, DVD players, game consoles, and vibrating motors in cellular phones.

In order to improve the durability of switches, relays, and motors, the development of contact materials that are resistant to wear and tear has been crucial. Additionally, Tanaka Precious Metals has been working for over 20 years to eliminate cadmium from its contact materials to comply with international cadmium restrictions; cadmium is toxic to humans and to the environment. The problems caused by the lack of cadmium were solved, ingeniously, by the addition of different amounts of oxides. In this way, it has been possible to develop superior contact materials. The large market share that the company boasts is testament to its ability to meet international demands, and proof of its technological strength and development capabilities.


Precious Metals: Their Role in Building the Future of Mankind


Precious metals, as exemplified by gold, silver, and platinum, are frequently used as an anti-corrosive material in household electronics, and as a catalyst in manufacturing processes. They are also expected to become increasingly important in eco-friendly and energy-efficient products.

Precious metals already play a significant role in fuel cells. They are used as a catalyst for the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen at the electrodes in polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs), direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs), and in phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFCs). To form the catalyst, carbon particles with a diameter of about 30 nm are combined with particles of platinum, platinum-cobalt, or platinum-ruthenium about 2 to 4 nm in diameter. Tanaka Precious Metals currently holds 60% of the global market share in catalysts for PEFCs and DMFCs, and is continuing to develop catalysts that are lower cost, and have higher efficiency and greater durability.

Tanaka Precious Metals is also involved in various other businesses in energy and environmental conservation fields. Examples include reflective films and silver wiring material for solar cells, electrodes made of iridium for producing hydrogen fuel, and parts made of gold and platinum for high-luminosity white LEDs. The company is also pressing forward with its efforts to develop palladium-based membranes, which are considered a novel technology for hydrogen production. Making use of the fact that only hydrogen can diffuse through palladium, the extraction of high-purity hydrogen from hydrogen-containing gases becomes possible through the use of palladium membranes. This technique is already being utilized to produce ultra-high-purity semiconductor process gases. Compared to conventional hydrogen production systems, palladium membrane systems take up just a third of the space. It is predicted that, with further research, palladium membranes will facilitate a decrease in the reforming process temperature from the 700 to 800˚C range to the 500 to 550˚C range, and an increase process efficiency from 30% to 70%.

The realization of a consumer hydrogen production system using palladium-based membranes cannot be achieved without first developing the technology to produce extremely thin palladium films with a thickness of about 10 µm. Tanaka Precious Metals already possesses the technology to produce palladium films of 5 µm thickness, and is currently working on the mass production of palladium-based membranes for hydrogen production. Indeed, the Japanese government has plans to facilitate the practical operation of hydrogen filling stations in 2015. Tanaka Precious Metals aims to provide consumers with its hydrogen production systems by the same year.

*Click “more” below for more details on gold bonding wire.

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http://www.tanaka.co.jp/english/index.html
(Tanaka Holdings Co., Ltd.)
Specifications: Hydrogen Permeable Films
Applications
High-purity hydrogen gas purifiers, steam-reforming-based hydrogen production units, etc.
Rolled Foils
Features -Minimum thickness: 5 µm; maximum width: 200 mm
-Integrated processing, from alloy melting to rolling
-Available in a wide range of palladium alloys including binary and ternary alloys
-High-quality purification process that minimizes insoluble impurities
Thickness Min: 5 µm
Width Max: 200 mm
Shape Sheets(square, circular)
Pipes

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